RDN Firmly Rejects Garbage Burner

Burning garbage to get energy is a scam.
B. Mcpherson
The Regional District of Nanaimo Board of Directors firmly rejected the idea of establishing a garbage burner in the area, adding that they did not wish to see one anywhere on Vancouver Island. Last night, June 25th, RDN bureaucrats floated the idea that they should liaise with Metro Vancouver bureaucrats regarding the criteria for establishing a garbage burner at Duke Point.

In a split vote, the area directors voted to allow communications but with the proviso that the bureaucrats emphasize that the district is not open to be a dumping ground for MetroVancouver’s garbage. Officials in the Lower Mainland have been looking for a site to establish a “Waste to Energy” incineration plant. The communities in the Fraser Valley voted unanimously to reject such an installation in their area citing air pollution. North Vancouver rejected the idea as did Powell River.

The elected officials sitting around the room were only informed officially about this scheme on June 21, but found out that “talks” had been ongoing since March. The former Chief Administration Officer, Carol Mason, is now working for MetroVancouver. While the bureaucrats have maintained that nothing has been agreed to, it leaves an uneasy feeling with myself that the whole truth and nothing but the truth has yet been revealed.

Even as the RDN Board mulled over whether the bureaucrats were to speak with MetroVancouver  on the subject of incineration, the CBC was running a story about MetroV. officials being in town to talk with those asking permission to speak with them. The following is an excerpt from the broadcast:

Representatives from Metro Vancouver's Zero Waste Committee will be in Nanaimo tonight to talk about site possibilities for a $500-million incinerator that would process 700,000 tonnes of waste a year. CBC News

In addition to the hush, hush preliminary “just talking” without informing the elected officials, the discussions have reached a stage whereby the MetroVancouver bureaucrats have felt confident that they would discuss the possibility of a 700 000 tonne garbage disposal plant in Nanaimo. And this is on the same night that a scheduled meeting of the Board is held. Yet the bureaucrats involved in this are asking permission to “just talk”. That’s not all, a for profit corporation, Wheelabrator, has been scheduled(without input of the elected officials) to come to speak to them about the advantages of having a massive pollution plant in our neighbourhood.

In addition to tonnes of poisonous gases spewed into the air, about one third of the tonnage that goes into an incineration unit is reduced to slag. This toxic material then must be treated as toxic waste. Director McPherson moved that the RDN not accept out of district waste that would adversely affect the life of the local landfill. This passed without discussion and without naysayers. This removed a large financial incentive to locate in the RDN.

The decision to reject the imposition of a garbage incineration plant with all its negative attributes was an easy one for the elected officials. When word of this scheme leaked out to the citizens, via newspapers and the internet, the phone calls and emails reached the burning ears of elected and employees alike.

It seems that Vancouver Island residents are not alone in their opposition to disposing of garbage into the atmosphere. Last night, Fraser Valley and MetroVancouver officials met in a stormy session that castigated MetroV.  for their efforts to get an incineration plant built.

Garbage and garbage disposal is an ongoing problem for communities. It is each person’s responsibility to do what they can to mitigate the problem and the responsibility of each community to dispose of their wastes in a responsible manner that does not harm their neighbours. RDN citizens now create less than the Canadian average of garbage and are working hard to reduce it further. Vancouver currently throws away nearly double the national average. They have some work to do.

Chilliwack and Abbotsford had a heated exchange with the Metro Vancouver Zero Waste people over garbage burning last night.

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